confessions on my relationship with the book

I crack spines. I do it purposefully. I love the feeling of resistance and then the way the spine will suddenly give in.

I sleep on top of books. There are baskets full of them under my bed.

I cut books up to make things like this. Pressing a scalpel into a page feels unsettling and pleasurable.

I fold down page corners. I do this to mark where I'm up to and also to mark pages I may want to return to because of a particular sentence or idea. I have books in which more pages have corners folded down than don't.

I have a few very old books from which I've barely read a word. I bought them for their smell, the colour of their pages and the buckling of their spines.

There are books on shelves in every room of my house but the cellar.

I've only reflexively closed a book in shock once. I'd just read the title of an unremarkable painting I inexplicably fell in love with and used to visit when I lived in London.

If I'm really enjoying a book, I like to fall asleep holding it in my hands with my fingers ready to turn the page.

I like it when pages thicken with steam, ripple and soften dangerously when dipped into the bathwater, then crispen when left to dry on the radiator.

I always carry a book with me. On train journeys I take more than one so I have a choice. I never read on the train.

I write in books with black biro, never pencil, because I want the marks I make in them to be permanent.

I thought seeing my name and something I'd written in a book for the first time would bring an immense feeling of joy. I was surprised by the non-feeling of getting what I'd been striving for. I felt no more attachment to those pages than any others in the book, less, really, because I couldn't enjoy reading what I myself had written.

I lost several of my favourite books, including one I first read at six, to condensation. I'd been keeping them on a windowsill above my bed. I didn't pick them up often enough. The comfort was in knowing they were there. Over the course of two winters, their pages blackened with mildew.

Twice in my life I've gone through periods of sleeping with a book under my pillow. Once it was a book that belonged to someone else that I wanted to have close to me. Once it was a book of stories written by someone else.

I once tore a book into shreds. As I was engaged in the act, the one scrap that caught my eye not only mentioned my first name but said something I didn't want to read. It felt like the book as divination. Or the book's way of punishing me for its destruction.

I carried a copy of Calvino's Invisible Cities in my bag everywhere I went when my children were very young because I had to believe there were other places. Every time I opened my bag and saw its red spine it reminded me that I could find not escape, but resilience in imagination.

I've been carrying round a kindle that belongs to my work in its cardboard box. I haven't yet been able to bring myself to read anything on it.

I've been thinking about books after watching this and reading this and this and this.